Environmental Wars: EPA Swings Back at Big Energy & GOP

On Monday, a seismologist said 11 earthquakes that occurred near a northeast Ohio well are more than likely due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas and oil by injecting water in sand deep into the Earth’s crust.

John Armbruster of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory said the injection of waste water into the Earth’s soil will continue to cause earthquakes in the immediate area for approximately one year.

State officials joined in environmentalists’ and Armbruster’s concern over fracking as they believe the recent 4.0 earthquake in Youngstown was linked to Northstar Disposal Services LLC’s continual injection of thousands of gallons of brine into the well. They said that the pressure from the waste disposal finally gave way.

This is coming at a time when environmentalists are becoming more concerned with this controversial process of drilling for natural gas and oil. Injection wells continue to be a ripe area of concern for environmentalists as a well in Ashtanbula, Ohio and wells in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado have been linked to earthquakes according to Armbruster.

Companies that would benefit most from fracking have actively gone after the EPA and any other governmental protection agency as “job-killing,” “over-reaching,” “communist” bureaucracies whose sole mission is to destroy the American Dream. I guess in their eyes, it’s better to point the finger at someone else before people start pointing their finger at you.

The Republicans and big energy have attacked the EPA since President Obama took office. Late December, the EPA came out with a report that indefinitely linking fracking to water contamination. The EPA found:

EPA’s analysis of samples taken form the Agency’s deep monitoring wells in the aquifer indicates detection of synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels.

It seems kind of ridiculous to think that the EPA, an agency that is supposed to protect American citizens from contaminated food, air and water, has missed an issue as important as this one. Well, if you’ve been following American politics the past decade, this should be of little surprise to you.

One reason the EPA has chosen to ignore the blatant disregard for the environment by energy companies is because the EPA has been bought off and intimidated the past eight years under the Bush administration (and the Obama administration). Under the “Haliburton Loophole” energy companies are exempt from some federal standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. And the man behind this act was, of course, Dick Cheney as he was an executive of Haliburton and sat on President Bush’s Energy Policy Task Force which helped to enact the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The Energy Protection Act of 2005 not only left gas drillers exempt from federal regulation, but it exempts oil and gas producers from the Clean Water Act of 1972’s measure that regulates the discharge of waste into rivers and streams.

Citizens are becoming increasingly more aware of the growing concerns of contaminated drinking water and increased seismic activities that are most likely the result of fracking. I think we all remember the multiple cases of families being able to light their faucet water on fire after being contaminated by nearby fracking procedures:

The war continues between the federal government and well, the federal government. That’s the way it goes.


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